Presenters for "Risky Business" (l.-r.): Dr. Steve Lipsig, Dr. Sandra Curet, Ronni Smithline, Dot Slade, Rose Bonanno, Jamie Bogenshutz.
Due to the popularity of the first Risky Business program, the Drug and Alcohol Task Force, along with the Parent Councils presented Risky Business Two as a follow-up program. The program took place on Feb. 2 at Weber Middle School.
The program was for parents only and like the first Risky Business, it addressed the sexual behaviors of young people and how to broach these topics with children and teens.
The evening started in the auditorium as the parents were "welcomed" by Ronni Smithline, district chairperson of guidance who introduced the panel of presenters. The panel consisted of:
Rose Bonanno, director of health, physical education and athletics of the district. She gave an overview of the health curriculum from the elementary grades through high school.
Dr. Sandra Curet is an OBGYN at North Shore Women's Health at North Shore Hospital. She discussed the physical and medical consequences of promiscuous sexual relations.
Dot Slade is a social worker and family therapist who specializes in parent-child relations. She spoke about parent-child relationships.
Dr. Steve Lipsig is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who is chief of psychiatry at North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center in Roslyn.
Similar to the first session, the large group then broke into smaller groups in classrooms with a facilitator for more discussion. The facilitators were guidance counselors, health teachers and social workers from the district. The parents viewed videos that were made by Port Washington teachers and students portraying parents and kids in different scenarios. After and during each tape there was time for discussion. The scenarios included: boys bragging about their sexual conquests, a mother finding a pregnancy test in her daughter's room and a father reading an e-mail about a party that went out of control.
All the parents in attendance received a folder with information, resources, biographies of the presenters and an evaluation form. The evaluations from the last Risky Business helped bring this one about, as a lot of parents requested a follow-up presentation.
Hariette Gold, a health teacher at Weber Middle School said, "This is a beginning, we're getting parents to open their eyes to the issues that confront teens and parents today. The program also gives parents the opportunity to network amongst themselves. It definitely broke the ice and put all the parents on equal footing when one parent related situations with her child and everything she did embarrassed her daughter. It created an instant bond among the parents and one could feel the support they gained from each other. One goal of the evening was to impress upon parents the importance of opening the lines of communication."
Rose Bonanno impressed upon the parents that this is happening all over the nation and not just in Port Washington. She made reference to the recent Katie Curic's TV special on "Teen Sexuality."
The "Risky Business" program was developed by the YES Counseling Center with the Massapequa school district. Jamie E. Bogenshutz is the executive director. Future workshops are being planned with the next step having student participation.